What's Blooming In Your Garden?

It’s official, spring is now here.  This week marks that magic moment when our days finally become longer than our nights.  Of course there is no guarantee that any of these days will actually have the sun shining but it is at least encouraging to know that the potential is there to experience, on the average, 3 more minutes of daylight every day from now until the summer solstice, at which time we start losing 3 minutes a day until we hit the fall equinox when once again the days become shorter than the nights.  I find sometimes it is better not to dwell on this kind of information and just appreciate each day as it unfolds.  Call me simple minded if you like but this is how I stay sane.

Trust Me, I Know How You Feel

There’s no point in sugar coating this message.  The weather sucks and it is going to continue to suck for the rest of the month; ain’t nothing any of us can do about it and no amount of whining is going to make me or you feel any better (although a healthy dose of “wine-ing” seems to help me get through the week).  By the time northwest gardeners reach the month of March they are ready to dig into the soil and get with the program.  Having to wait until April can be pure torture, so here is what I do to try and stay upbeat...

A Few Things To Do In March

Last Tuesday (the last day of February) started out cold and frozen with a few snowflakes falling from the sky, but as the day went on the sun came out and it actually felt like a taste of spring for me.  I was working in the garden doing some cleanup and for the first time this year I was whistling, lost in thought as I scurried about with my pruners, rake, and wheelbarrow.  I couldn’t help but feel that the last vestiges of winter were finally behind us.  It was at that moment that a bit of panic came over me as I realized I still had a ton of things to do to get ready for spring.  Here is what I accomplished and what you should focus on as well.

Signs Of Spring

I know it doesn’t feel like it but spring has arrived, despite the cold and wet (dare I say snowy) weather we have been experiencing.  I will be the first to admit that when it is this cold I prefer to stay inside and wait for the sun to come out.  But despite my reluctance to go digging in the garden, the season continues to march on, stimulated by the increased day length and occasional sun breaks, few and far in between as they have been.  Simply put, there is no stopping Mother Nature once she wakes up.

It's Show Time!

This week marks the beginning of the 29th annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which will run this coming Wednesday through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.  This is a world class production that is sure to get you in the mood for the upcoming gardening season.  Every year I come away with some new ideas, a few new plant purchases, and an overall renewed excitement for gardening.  If you have yet to partake in this event, then you should really consider going this year.

What A Difference Two Weeks Makes

I just returned from spending two deliciously warm and sunny weeks in Mexico doing as little as possible while the rest of you endured “Snowmageddon” along with some nasty freezes that pretty much put the skids on any productive work in the garden.  With that kind of weather I would have expected my garden to look about the same as when I left it 14 days prior, but I discovered some surprising changes.

February 2017 To-Do List

It’s funny how one year can be so different from the next.  With last year’s winter being so mild, everything in the garden seemed to be 3 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule.  My Cornelian Cherry started blooming in early January with a mass of spidery yellow blooms and lasted almost two months.  This year it is still completely dormant without a trace of color, all because of those 3 weeks of freezing weather we just went through.  My guess is that we will be running 2 weeks later than normal most of 2017, which at this time of year just means we have a couple extra weeks to get caught up.  Here’s what we should be paying attention to:

The Importance Of Plants

I realize that for many of you I am probably preaching to the choir, but for the rest of the world it never hurts to remind them that plants (next to dogs perhaps) are man’s best friend.  We simply would not exist if it weren’t for plants.  Plants provide food for our bodies, materials for our shelters and release oxygen into the atmosphere that we need to breathe. Arguably even more important than all of these reasons is the roll they play with our mental health. 

Surviving The Deep Freeze

By the time you read this column it will probably be raining and the cold dry spell of late December and early January will be behind us.  According to the weather gurus, this was the coldest winter since 2013 with temperatures dipping into the mid-teens in most areas during the night and staying at or below freezing during the day for over a week.  The question for all of us gardeners is of course:  “What sort of damage should we expect to see from this event?”  I am happy to say that after a thorough inspection of my garden I feel confident that any damage from the big freeze is going to be minimal.  Here is why...